Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy 25th Anniversary, World Wide Web

The world's first web page.

Twenty-five years ago today,  the World Wide Web was born.
It was conceived in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a Briton working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research. But August 23, 1991 is the day the first public website went public. It was made by 
Now August 23 is now called “Internaut Day,” a name that combines “Internet” and “astronaut,” as early technical Internet users were called.
Since the Web is so ubiquitous today, it is hard to remember that it is really a young technology.

Together Ryan Rempel, a creative and inventive friend, I created my first website in 1994. It was for my employer at the time, Mennonite Central Committee.

At the time there were 2,738 websites—in the world. Today there are over a billion.

I still remember colleagues wondering who would ever want to go on a computer to find information—what good could it be?

MCC home page from 1999

I also remember going to a technology conference about this new thing called World Wide Web. To demonstrate how it worked, the presenter used overhead slides. He put up on slide, pretended to click a button, then replaced it with another slide to show how the Web would work.

I created another website in 1997 for a national Faith and Media conference I was organizing. To make it, I learned HTML code—everything on it was created manually.

Faith and Media home page, 2000

We’ve come a long way since then!

Today, the Web is already being considered a legacy media, as Brodie Fenlon, Senior Director for Digital News at CBC, noted. The CBC “still has a huge desktop audience,” he says, “but future growth is phone.”

That sentiment is echoed by Chad Millman, ESPN's new vice president and editorial director for domestic digital content.

According to Millman, for ESPN "mobile is everything. We always have to be thinking about mobile first. If we’re thinking about anything else, we’re failing the audience."

Fun fact: Model Railroading played a role in the invention of the Web. Berners-Lee, as it turns out, enjoyed trains a young boy, tinkering with the electronics.

As a result of making gadgets for his model railway, he “ended up getting more interested in electronics than trains.”

He went on to build his own computer out of an old TV, study physics at Oxford and then, in 1989, laid out his vision for what would become the World Wide Web.

As Stephanie Lynn put it on her blog, the boy who tinkered with circuits for his model trains became the man who invented the single most valuable creation of our time.”

So, once again, happy anniversary World Wide Web!

No comments: